Modern Gretsch Guitars

Gretsch 6119 1962HT Tennessee Rose

1

I have a 2014 Gretsch 6119 1962HT Tennessee Rose from Japan. It came with the Chet Atkins signature on the pickguard. I've heard that the first Japan models did not come with this signature because the builds weren't any good and Gretsch would not certify them, but as time went on the production became good and the signature was added again. Does anybody know if this is true? Now I've heard that there is a Professional Series that is made with quality parts and workmanship that comes with this signature. Anybody know?

3

I have a 92 build though differently build (waffle bracing) but a great guitar.

4

Gretsch re-acquired the right to use Chet Atkins' name around 2006 because Gibson no longer had the rights to the Atkins name. Prior to that, Gretsch was always making quality instruments. Gibson still has rights to the name "Tennessean" which is why your guitar is called a "Tennessee Rose."

5

Don't believe everything you hear......... As lx commented above...... There was no Chet logos on Gretsch for several years because the company had no legal rights to use them. It had NOTHING to do with quality issues.

6

I've heard that the first Japan models did not come with this signature because the builds weren't any good and Gretsch would not certify them, but as time went on the production became good and the signature was added again. Does anybody know if this is true?

That is not true. That's complete and utter hogwash. BS. Load of bollocks. Poppycock. Stuff and nonsense.

There are no "poor quality" Gretschs going back to the rebirth of the brand in 1989. Certainly anything from Japan is well made, up to and exceeding Gretsch standards in any era, and as good as anything on the market. The Korean stuff from 1989 to 2003 is also excellent.

What changed in 2003, when Fender Musical Instruments started managing the brand, is not that quality got better - just that specs and details were constantly revised to: A) bring some models more in line with vintage features and practice (though improved); and 2) create modern models inspired by the classics, with but with more contemporary features. The quality from the Japanese builders (now mostly Terada) has remained consistently excellent.

And Gretsch's Korean, Chinese, and even (I think) Indonesian guitars are also fine instruments. No quality problems with any of them.

A 2014 Tennesse Rose is a superb guitar in every way. Mine is from 2006 or so, and I can't imagine it being better than it is.

If Gretsch won't "certify" a guitar (whatever the hell that means), they also won't SHIP that guitar. Why would the company - whether managed directly by Fred Gretsch (as it was from 1989 - 2002) or by FMIC (2003 - present) - put the Gretsch logo on ANY sub-standard guitar?

Whoever told you that was woefully misinformed, or spreading his own manure for whatever reason. The truth is out there, and it's not that hard to find.

7

I've heard that the first Japan models did not come with this signature because the builds weren't any good and Gretsch would not certify them, but as time went on the production became good and the signature was added again. Does anybody know if this is true?

That is not true. That's complete and utter hogwash. BS. Load of bollocks. Poppycock. Stuff and nonsense.

There are no "poor quality" Gretschs going back to the rebirth of the brand in 1989. Certainly anything from Japan is well made, up to and exceeding Gretsch standards in any era, and as good as anything on the market. The Korean stuff from 1989 to 2003 is also excellent.

What changed in 2003, when Fender Musical Instruments started managing the brand, is not that quality got better - just that specs and details were constantly revised to: A) bring some models more in line with vintage features and practice (though improved); and 2) create modern models inspired by the classics, with but with more contemporary features. The quality from the Japanese builders (now mostly Terada) has remained consistently excellent.

And Gretsch's Korean, Chinese, and even (I think) Indonesian guitars are also fine instruments. No quality problems with any of them.

A 2014 Tennesse Rose is a superb guitar in every way. Mine is from 2006 or so, and I can't imagine it being better than it is.

If Gretsch won't "certify" a guitar (whatever the hell that means), they also won't SHIP that guitar. Why would the company - whether managed directly by Fred Gretsch (as it was from 1989 - 2002) or by FMIC (2003 - present) - put the Gretsch logo on ANY sub-standard guitar?

Whoever told you that was woefully misinformed, or spreading his own manure for whatever reason. The truth is out there, and it's not that hard to find.

– Proteus

I agree 100%. There was a time when "made in Japan" meant an inferior product, but that's been so long ago that lots of folks weren't even around yet. And to be honest I wonder if that sentiment might have been fostered by post-WW2 sentiment, of which my father and several uncles were veterans.

I have no Japanese made guitars at this time, but both my PRS Soaobar 2 and my Electromatic 5122 are of Korean manufacture and both are excellent instruments. Oddly, they both have (for me) the most comfortable necks of all my guitars, with the 5122 being my Excalibur, to speak. I hardly play any of the others since aquiring the 5122. Both it and the PRS are excellent for fit, finish and playability. Maybe whoever told him this saw it on the internet, which of course makes it true.

8

BALDERDASH!

HORSEFEATHERS!

CLAPTRAP!

MOUNTAIN MUFFINS!

PIFFLE!

TOMMYROT!

BLATHERSKITE!

CODSWALLOP!

There is no difference between the 6119-1962HT with the signature and without. It is one if the best bargains in ProLevel Gretsches and, in my not-so-humble opinion, is one of the absolute best looking Gretsches out there!

If you get one without a signature, just get a pickguard that has one.

10

I also have a 6119 Tennessee Rose without the signature,mine is a 2000 and its a lefty,the unsigned ones are from the time period when Chet Atkins ended his alliance with Gretsch and formed a new agreement with Gibson,this agreement lasted until shortly after Chet Atkins death when Gretsch approached the estate of Chet Atkins and offered a new alliance,after this new agreement was formed, the guitars again had the signatures,I believe the unsigned period Gretschs could be of greater value some day,just a thought,at any rate,I don't believe it had anything to do with quality either,I enjoy the fact that it doesn't have the signature,it seems a lot of them have it,its just a little different than most,nothing wrong with that.

11

I love Chet Atkins - certainly one of the foremost in the pantheon of guitar genii - but he had an undistinguished autograph, and the Nashville signpost is one hokey, cheesy bit of heraldry.

I'm happy my 6119-62 doesn't have the sig/signpost on the pickguard, and I removed the graphics from the pickguard of my 6120DSV.

But ultimately, the insignia on an instrument only matters when you're looking at it, not when you're playing it. And even to the extent it matters when I'm looking at it, I'm not so fastidious about it that I'd pass up a fabulous guitar because of it. And if it happens to float your boat, great.

Just making the point that, in this case, we're talking about Japanese-made Gretschs from a golden age of guitar production - and the quality is consistent no matter what graphics adorn them.


I can't imagine there's anyone who still seriously harbors the prejudice that "the [insert nationality here]" can't make world-class [insert name of product here]. But just in case, remember that Terada has now been building pro-line Gretschs for a bit longer (depending on how you parse it) than Gretsch built them in Brooklyn.

It's not that I mean to be militant about it; I'd just hate for anyone to pass up a great guitar based on considerations of national origin. I believe that the skill, integrity, and intentions of the workman are embodied in his craftsmanship; his well-made artifact honors him, and confers dignity upon him.

Where he lives is irrelevant.

12

I'm not aware that Gretsch/FMiC re-aquired the Tennesean copyright.

I think you can be assured that the Gretsch guitars built by FMIC under contract from Fred Gretsch III to Terada and others are just as good or better than the guitars built in Brooklyn, NY.

Lee

13

I can't imagine there's anyone who still seriously harbors the prejudice that "the [insert nationality here]" can't make world-class [insert name of product here].

To me the greatest "Made in Japan" moment was in the movie "The Fly" where the molecular transfer machine that eventually creates the fly is being tested. The people use a wedding gift as the test item, laughingly, because it says "MADE IN JAPAN" on the back in huge letters. Therefore, the implication is it is low quality and has little value, perfect for such a test.

That stereotype was shattered by the 80s. I don't reckon if they did a remake of the Fly today they'd use a Terada Gretsch as the test item, even with that annoyingly curved "G" on the headstock of my 57 VS Jet.

14

"That is a bunch of Malarkey" Joe Biden who got the phrase from my Grandpa Reeves

I have the same guitar only a 2009 G6119FT only difference is mine as Filtertrons instead of Hilotrons. Here it is in recent action.

15

I had a Tennessean that I got new in 1967. I loved that guitar, for me it just had a je ne sais quoi that made it so special. I played it through a 1965 Deluxe Reverb. It wasn't the loudest guitar around but it was gorgeous and sounded the same.

When I bought a 2005 Tennessee Rose, it just didn't look quite right without the signature. I found a signature pickguard that wasn't too expensive on eBay and it now looks a lot more like my old one.

I also sold the old Deluxe Reverb but replaced it with a 1980-81 model that had the new blackface faceplate that had "Deluxe Reverb" all on the same line rather than stacked like the old ones (and the reissues). Again, it didn't look right to me, so I changed the faceplate to make it more like my old one.

Neither sound any different as a result of the change, but they just seem more "right" to me somehow.

16

I'm not aware that Gretsch/FMiC re-aquired the Tennesean copyright.

I think you can be assured that the Gretsch guitars built by FMIC under contract from Fred Gretsch III to Terada and others are just as good or better than the guitars built in Brooklyn, NY.

Lee

– Lee Erickson

Gretsch does not have the Tennessean trademark. Gibson does. That's why the guitars are now called Tennessee Rose.

I believe that about 10-15 years ago, Gibson gave permission to do a limited run series of Tennessean after Gretsch entered into the agreement with Chet's estate. But my memory is getting full and sometimes they aren't as accurate as I would like them to be.

17

With all due respect, did you come here to start a fight?

Pick the damned thing up and play it! Then get back with us on YOUR assessment.

Oh, and welcome to the GDP and "What they said."


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